Kooza – Cirque du Soleil

Say what? Yes, you read it right, it’s Kooza, and it’s one of Cirque du Soleil’s traveling shows currently (through October 21, 2007) performing in Toronto at the Port Lands at the foot of Cherry Street under the Grand Chapiteau (yep, that’s Big Top), before moving on to San Francisco (November 16 – December 30, 2007), San Jose (January 31 – February 17, 2008), Hartford, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston.

I saw Kooza in Toronto last Thursday (October 4th). I am somewhat embarrassed to say that this was my first Cirque du Soleil show. So, what did I think?

Having heard so many people praise Cirque du Soleil and the grandiose nature of their shows, I had high expectations. My first impression was that the Grand Chapiteau was smaller than I expected – a good thing, as I don’t think there are really any ‘bad’ seats.

The show was about 2 hours in length, with a 30 minute intermission.

The show was comprised of a number of acts, with additional comedy, magic, and audience interaction thrown in between. This generated a good show pace, although I found some of the diversions between acts became a little repetitive. But, a show like Kooza isn’t about the filler material between the main acts – it’s all about the main acts themselves. And how were they? Excellent (as one would expect from Cirque du Soleil), but I wasn’t as ‘WOWED’ as I had expected. All of the acts (Chair Balancing, Charivari, Contortion, Highwire, Juggling, Solo Trapeze, Teeterboard, Unicycle Duo, and Wheel of Death), while executed with amazing skill, and presentation, were nothing new. All of the main acts were things I have seen before, albeit probably in less visually spectacular presentations.

So, was it worth it? While I didn’t leave the show totally mesmerized, breathless, and blown away, I did thoroughly enjoy the evening. I will definitely see other Cirque du Soleil shows in the future and am sure I will be entertained and awed. I am sure that the (for now) six permanent “resident” shows (Mystere at Treasure Island (Las Vegas), “O” at Bellagio (Las Vegas), La Nouba at Walt Disney World, Zumanity at New York-New York (Las Vegas), Ka at MGM Grand (Las Vegas), and Love at The Mirage (Las Vegas)) take presentation, sets, props, and grandeur to a totally different level – besides that being ‘expected’ in places like Las Vegas, not needing to be able to pick-up and hit the road with the entire show provides a lot of added flexibility.

Cirque Eloize – Last year, I had the pleasure of attending both the public and Black-Tie Gala openings at the new Rose Theatre in Brampton, Ontario. As part of both shows, Cirque Eloize (a smaller, lesser-known Montreal, Quebec based circus troupe) performed a short collection of their acts and they totally blew me away. If you like Cirque du Soleil type shows and have the opportunity to experience Cirque Eloize, be sure to do so – you won’t be disappointed.

About David Wood

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